The final 30-22 scoreline did not reflect the NYC Newcastle Knights' effort against the Sydney Roosters on Sunday afternoon according to coach Troy Pezet.
The young Knights took hold of the match early on and maintained the lead until a late lapse in defence saw the Roosters secure the win.
Knights TV spoke to Luke Yates and coach Pezet in the sheds after the game.
“I think it was the penalties that we gave them at the start of the game came back to bite us,” Yates said reflecting on the match.
“We defended so well, but gave them too much ball.
“If we hadn’t given them penalties, they wouldn’t have put the points on us.
“We still hung in there, it was just that last five (minutes).
“They were a big pack, big guys and had some sneaky offloads in there.”
Yates, who is a senior member among a relatively young NYC side, praised a number of his teammates for their performances.
“Daniel Saifiti, Josh King and our halves went really well,” he said.
“No one really had a bad game, we played a pretty high standard of footy."
As the players left the field, they pulled together as a team for an impromptu talk.
“It was just to make sure we don’t take it to heart,” he said.
"It was more about that and not getting too down on ourselves.
“We played for 75 minutes, we just have to cut the errors out and I we know we can do it.
“If we can play at that standard for 80 minutes, we could beat anyone."
Pezet put the late loss down to a lack of concentration at the back end of the game.
“They had done so well and tried so hard throughout the game,” he said.
“I’m just really gutted for them because they tried so hard and it just slipped away at the end.
“We handled it really well for all but 79 minutes.
“It’s a bit of a cliché, but I thought we were the better side across the board today, so I’m just disappointed we had a slip at the end.”
Pezet’s special mentions went to Jacob Saifiti and Josh Birch.
“Our forward pack was fantastic,” the coach added.
“It’s just been a really good week.
“The Roosters are coming fourth, so we really needed to make up some ground there from last week when we were pretty poor.
“I thought we did that."
The side saw Matt Lawler make his debut with the NYC Knights after playing first grade with the Maitland Pickers in the local Newcastle Competition.
Lawler played well on the wing and came close to scoring on a number of occasions.
“All in all he’s had a pretty solid debut," he praised.
“I thought this week were really good. We had a heap of young ones play today, but we stayed in the fight.
“I’m really proud of the way they performed today.
“The scoreboard won’t indicate how much effort they put in.”